A simple, simple line from a book I recently read, Loving My Actual Life. One simple sentence, a simple concept, but when you consider the magnitude of it..it’s HUGE.
You guys all know we are living in a hyper connected time. Technology is a beautiful thing and a difficult thing all in the same. Arianna Huffington in the book Thrive mentions how in today’s corporate world it’s EXPECTED to be constantly connected. Make yourself available! Answer that call, that text, right away. Respond to emails FASTER. BE THERE TO WORK ALWAYS. And do you know why this continues? Being overly dedicated is celebrated. The one who is the last to sleep and the earliest to rise at the expense of memories made with family and taking care of himself…that’s rewarded so often as “the hardest and most dedicated worker” and it makes it hard for the rest of the employees or businesses working at another pace to compete.
This very quickly trickled over to small businesses too and it didn’t take long for everyone, EVERYwhere to feel the pressure to be faster and more connected. Customers started to expect for you to choose business over your life almost as if that was their right and held it against you while determining whether or not you were the best business owner around. If you’re off on vacation for a week and get an inquiry, you aren’t the best fit because you kept a promise to your family by not responding to emails for a week and someone else answered faster? Remember…most businesses are run by people, not machines.
I understand the need for efficiency and trust me, we do our very best to stay on top of emails. This year it blew UP like we could never have expected, and we are sooo grateful for that! AND…if you have gotten an email back from me, you know I’m more than happy to respond — note all the exclamations and smiley faces, haha! But this morning, one of my friends was having a really hard time. She’s expected to do so many different things for so many different people while having a family to take care of, working part time somewhere and running a business. She is tired, she’s stressed, and she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. She wants to take care of everyone and do more than one person can possibly do in a day and it’s because she cares…but I can’t help but think this is such a product of our time with the expectations of businesses running faster and the demand of deadlines.
If you’re running your own business or working with a company, please remember that simple line…do only what you can do. Can you really do MORE than you can actually do? If there are 24 hours in a day, are you supposed stay up until 2am and then be back up 6am to do it again?
YOU WILL CRUMBLE. You will turn to dust and end up having no value at all when you reach a break down point, you will drive yourself into the ground. The Best Yes is SUCH a great book to pick up if you need help saying no to things AND for starting to understand more how to let people down gently when you reach a point of “I just can’t” … or even better, how to manage expectations from the beginning. Poor business owners, we just JUMP so fast to say yes from a place of fear. Fear of disappointing, of losing an opportunity, but if we keep taking on more than we can..we will lose space to squeeze it in and time to take care of it and then we’re disappointing in the end anyway. I know this SO much from experience of wanting to make everyone happy and then realizing I took on too much, and it’s a work in progress every, single, year to get better.
I hope today I can give you a little permission to do only what you can do. I hope you find a little extra confidence to say to someone or some project that hey, I can’t do this and handle it the way I thought I could. I need help, or I need more time. We’re only human and we try a little too hard and we don’t realize what life circumstances will get in the way of achieving all of those things we thought we could take care of.
Please take care of yourself today, someone loves you and needs you around and wants you to be healthy and happy 🙂
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